Over the past month you may have spotted Jason Bartziokas standing to the side of a rural road, or somewhere along Salmon Arm’s waterfront, his attention focused on the rich landscape before him.
Several Bartziokas sightings have been shared recently on social media, by individuals who happened to come across the Salmon Arm artist outdoors, as he was at work with his tripod, easel attachment, paints and canvas – gear that can be carried in a backpack.
A plein air painter, Bartziokas has been busy as of late, taking advantage of the sunny Shuswap weather to get to know and capture landscapes that inspire him.
On Monday, Sept. 26, Bartziokas was back at Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail, capturing the bird sanctuary with Mount Ida in the background.
“I’m falling in love with Mount Ida already,” said Bartziokas, who moved with his wife and daughters from Jasper to Salmon Arm in November 2019. “I actually started this on Saturday and got rained out, so I only had a drawing of it… So I was ahead of the curve when I got here today because the drawing was already laid in.”
Born and raised in Jasper, Bartziokas loved the scenery there as well, but said the Shuswap offers more variety. Salmon Arm also offered more opportunities and amenities for his family.
“I mean, it’s beautiful there… but yeah, being a dad, it was time for a bit of a change and this kind of ticked off all the boxes in terms of small-town feel, being outdoors – bigger town, city amenities. Best of both worlds.”
Bartziokas took part in the 20/20 exhibition held earlier this year at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery, which he called an “incredible space.” He also received exposure to the local arts community through a drawing group hosted at the Jackson campus. However, Salmon Arm’s influence on Bartziokas’ work came prior to that, during his formal instruction at the Alberta College of Art and Design.
“One of my most influential and favourite teachers was Chris Cran who, by chance, was from here,” said Bartziokas. “I did a painting from Mount Ida when I first got here and said, ‘The new digs,’ and he’s like, ‘Hey, Salmon Arm, my home town.’ He’s awesome. So I guess I’m a byproduct of his teachings.”
Among the perks of working outdoors for Bartziokas are being able to meet people expose them to his art, explain what plein air is about – and let them know he’s available for commissions. Bartziokas shares examples of his work on his Facebook page and on Instagram, and alson on mountaingalleries.com.